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How to Save Money This 4th of July

I buddy of mine reminded me this morning that the 4th of July is just a week away. Time. Is. Flying. And while this isn't "news" by any stretch, it was a nice reminder of how quickly my favorite summer holiday was approaching.

Of course, my very next thought was what I planned to barbecue.

If you're hosting a summer barbecue, odds are you'll be making a pretty significant trip to the grocery store. A holiday BBQ is a national pastime, but that doesn't make it cheap per se. So for all you true Americans out there prepping up for the feast of the summer, here are some tips to consider when it comes to saving on your 4th of July barbecue.

  • Cash Back Cards

Naturally, our first instinct is to recommend using a cash back card for these purchases. (Hello - we're Creditnet!) If you're lucky enough to carry a credit card that rewards bonus cash back on grocery purchases - such as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express - you could earn some serious cash back on your US supermarket purchases. (Find out just how much cash back you can earn in our review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.) Standard cash back cards are likely to reward you with one or two percent cash back on grocery purchases depending on the card, which is still better than nothing and can add to your total cash back pot.

Beginning July 1st, some of our favorite cash back credit cards will reward you on the drive to the store. Both Discover it® and Chase Freedom® are offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made at gas stations through September 30th when you enroll. Given that the average gallon of gas in the United States right now is $3.54 according to Gas Buddy, eligible gas purchases made with these cards is equal to nearly 18 cents a gallon per gallon, which nothing to scoff at! 

OK, that was a bit of a tangent. Let's get back to tips for saving on food...

  • Make it a Pot Luck

Let's face it - your guests are probably going to bring something to your BBQ, anyway. Why not avoid doubling up on certain items and saving everyone (including yourself) a little coin by making the proceedings a pot luck? Seriously - if my family had followed this tip for my high school graduation, we wouldn't have ended up with six kinds of potato salad and nothing but hot dogs to grill. Don't make the same mistake!

Like one of my friends did for the upcoming holiday bash, I would recommend sending out a Facebook event invite or e-vite and asking that everyone report what they plan on bringing to the party. It's a polite and fun way to ask that no one come empty-handed, while ensuring that everyone will be bringing something different to the mix.

Better food. Less money. No downside.

  • Shop With Coup's

Coup's - OK, coupons - are admittedly a hassle to keep track of, and I would be lying if I said I use them every time I go shopping. However, there are sure to be some 4th of July coupon deals at your local supermarket worth considering. Take a gander at the obnoxious coupon pamphlet you're likely to receive in your mailbox between now and the 4th to determine if any of these deals will help you make the best 4th of July dish for your friends. 


  • Drinking? Call a Cab

Allow me to be yet another person to tell you that drinking and driving ain't worth it this 4th of July. You don't need me to tell you that you're putting yourself and others in harm's way when you drink and drive, and the cost of cab is a whole lot less expensive than the cost of a DUI fine, lawyer fees, etc.

If you plan on partying this Independence Day (and we know we will be), make plans to call a cab or designate a (serious) driver. Stay safe, stay financially smart, and celebrate America's birthday the right way this upcoming holiday.

Best Credit Card for Groceries - Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our favorite credit card for grocery purchases this summer is this option from American Express. Members can learn just how much they're eligible to save when they sign up for card by reading our full review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, and can check out our full list of the best credit cards for gas and groceries.

Best Credit Card for Gas This Summer - Discover it®

Planning a summer road trip this 4th of July or after? Considering applying for the Discover it® card, which beginning July 1st is offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made at gas stations through September, 2013 with free and easy sign up. Read the full review on why this our favorite gas credit card for summer, 2013, or click the "Apply" button to the left for complete terms and conditions.

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Jason Bushey's picture

Jason Bushey is the former Editor and Vice President of Creditnet. Jason is a Burlington, Vermont native who moved to sunny San Diego after earning a Bachelor's Degree in English and Political Science at the University of Vermont ('09). When he's not sharing his take on credit cards, administrating the Creditnet Forum or blogging about all things related to credit, you can probably find him cheering on the Green Bay Packers (He's an owner!) or running up and down the streets of SoCal.

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